Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Today's Red Dress Club prompt is a one-word speed write (a.ka. flash memoir) on the word "Crash" ten minutes ... here goes:

Crumpling metal. Squealing tires. Shattering glass. Screaming girls. A heart-felt 'I told you so' from the driver of the cars we'd so recently passed on that twisting mountain road. I remember most one bystander with a parrot on his shoulder, and streams of guano down his back. Who are you to tell us how to do better, bird-shit man?

I didn't know then that car crash would also be the end of our friendship. As the glacier-fed river trickled past. As my friend was released from the drivers' side of the car. As I was helped into a stopped RV and offered a stiff drink to calm my nerves, the rage built. Every shaking nerve in my body wanted to scream 'YOU TRIED TO KILL ME!'

I knew it was crazy. That really she was just young and reckless and inexperienced. That two 18 year old girls on a shopping spree weekend were very likely candidates for a single-car accident. That she'd been pushing the limits of her vehicle the whole way. That she was the one now injured, whereas I was merely shaken up. And in that moment, I hated her.

Crisp mountain air spiced with pine slowly re-filled my lungs. I breathed deeply and once again I swallowed my rage. I told someone my dad worked just up the highway another 20 miles, and they went to let him know what happened.

But I couldn't look at her. And I resented the attention and sympathy she got as she crutched her way up and down the hallways for the rest of the school year, and across the graduation stage three weeks later.

It's been 26 years ... and I'm still a bad passenger on mountain roads.


  1. Fantastic. This drew me in, made me smile, and I completely identified.

  2. I feel your rage!
    I guess we should have put your arm in a sling - at least.
    P would be a good practise person to try a forgiveness issue on. Write her name down, say you forgive her, and let it go.
    It will be good for you, and that the important part.

  3. I was totally wrapped up in this - my favorite line is "Who are you to tell us how to do better, bird-shit man?" I laughed out loud at that :)

  4. Mom, you're no doubt right. I didn't even realise I still had all that resentment until I started writing - it's well past-time to let it go.

    Cheryl & Kristina - glad you were there. If only you'd felt the shiver of the mountain breeze.

  5. I like how you describe the rage of emotions you went through. And someone had to go get your Dad, ah the days before mobile phones! :)

  6. I know - I had to think that part out ... in my memory, someone called him & he & my mom arrived together. But that was 1986, so it wasn't possible. So odd.

  7. Such a powerful write. It grabbed my attention immediately. Excellent. Glad you were okay. A stiff drink? Now that surprised me a bit.


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